How to Become an Optician in Colorado

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How to Become an Optician in Colorado

Embarking on a career as an optician in Colorado proves to be promising.

This is especially true if you harbor an interest in the medical field and seek a profession with a robust demand for skilled individuals.

Let’s not forget these professionals help people see better.

They do this by selling them either eyewear gear like spectacles or contact lenses.

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Optician Job Duties in Colorado

In the Centennial State, opticians play a crucial role in guiding individuals to select eyewear tailored to their specific needs and style preferences.

Their primary focus lies in assisting customers with vision-correcting eyewear.

Daily, opticians engage in a variety of tasks, including:

  • Deciphering and interpreting prescriptions
  • Crafting and preparing eyewear
  • Ensuring proper fitting and adjustments of eyewear
  • Providing education to customers regarding eyewear concerns and maintenance
  • Maintaining meticulous sales records
  • Determining insurance co-pays
  • Managing inventory
  • Collaborating with lens manufacturing labs

It’s important to note that opticians in Colorado are not authorized to conduct eye examinations or prescribe corrective glasses.

Optician Training in Colorado

While opticians in Colorado are not legally mandated to obtain a license, securing one comes with numerous benefits.

Employers typically set the requirements for optician roles, which may include:

  • Possession of a high school diploma or GED
  • Minimum age requirement, usually 18 or 21 years old
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • A clean criminal record at both state and federal levels

Colorado lacks stringent prerequisites for aspiring opticians, resulting in a limited number of schools offering specialized training programs in the field.

Below are two schools in the state that provide programs for individuals aspiring to become opticians.

Emily Griffith Technical College

Explore specialized programs in opticianry offered by this college.

The College has a comprehensive course with a duration of under a year and a cost of less than $800.

By the time you complete the program, you’ll have accumulated 7.5 credit hours.

This program efficiently prepares students for national licensing exams.

Otero College

This college is located in Colorado but its optician training program is offered 100% online.

You can enroll at any time and there are no requirements for doing so.

It is however suggested you have a high school diploma or its equivalent as this is the minimum requirement for the ABO exam.

At the end of the program, you’ll obtain a certificate.

If you want a degree instead, you can also sign up for the Bridge to Bachelor’s degree.

You do this either when you sign up or during the first semester.

You’ll need to check with the college and this department to see if the optometry program is included.

School Name Address
Emily Griffith Technical College 1860 Lincoln St 3rd floor, Denver, CO 80203
Otero College 1802 Colorado Ave., La Junta, CO 81050
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If you seek diverse certification or diploma options, consider exploring programs in different states or online platforms.

When selecting a program, scrutinize the enrollment prerequisites, which may encompass:

  • Possession of a high school diploma or GED
  • Completion of specific classes with a minimum grade of C
  • Submission of two letters of recommendation
  • OAT scores (not exceeding 5 years old)
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75

During your training, you’ll delve into subjects such as:

  • Introduction to Optometry
  • Ocular Anatomy
  • Ophthalmic Imaging

Aspiring opticians may also opt for apprenticeships, contingent on individual employer policies.

Certification or Licensure for an Optician in Colorado

Colorado recognizes two licensing bodies, each offering distinct examinations:

  • National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) by ABO
  • Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE) by NCLE

These exams, available in English or Spanish, carry a $200 cost per attempt.

A minimum passing score of 70% is required.

The tests have three levels:

  • Beginner,
  • Intermediate,
  • Advanced.

NOCE concentrates on spectacles, covering areas like reading prescriptions, fitting, and dispensing spectacles, and utilizing standard ophthalmic equipment.

ABO provides study materials and mock-tests to aid in preparation.

CLRE centers on contact lenses, addressing topics such as:

  • Pre-fitting for lenses
  • Diagnostic fitting
  • Dispensing of lenses
  • Patient Education
  • Delivery
  • Follow-up

The exams are proctored at Prometric testing centers across the state.

When applying for a license, be prepared to submit documents like:

  • Proof of identity
  • A high school diploma or GED
  • An application
  • The fee payment proof
  • A clean criminal record
  • Exam scores

License renewal is required every three years at both basic and advanced levels, involving fees and ongoing education.

Optician Employment and Salary in Colorado

Opticians often find employment in various settings like stores, offices, optometry practices, hospitals, and clinics.

In Colorado, where licensing rules are not stringent, salaries can significantly differ based on experience and city of employment.

Explore average earnings for opticians in the state’s major cities to gain insight into your potential future workplace.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Snowmass $54,900
Red Cliff $54,600
Bedrock $54,400
Ouray $54,400
Cimarron $54,400
Telluride $54,400
Allenspark $54,200
Jefferson $54,000
Westminster $53,900
Buffalo Creek $53,300

Regional Salary in Colorado

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Boulder, CO120$52,280$25.14$72,400$36,430
Colorado Springs, CO170$42,570$20.47$61,260$31,800
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO640$46,230$22.23$62,390$33,590
Fort Collins, CO120$42,520$20.44$54,200$30,970
Grand Junction, CO40$40,220$19.34$46,760$30,130
Greeley, CO40$41,480$19.94$50,960$33,350
Pueblo, CO50$38,330$18.43$47,510$28,640
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Opticians, Dispensing, OCC Code 29-2081, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the skills needed by an optician in Colorado?

Opticians have the following abilities:

  • Attention to details
  • Good communication skills
  • Adaptable to new situations
  • Business skills
  • Physical stamina
  • Ability to perform repetitive tasks

Where can I find work as an optician in Colorado?

Here are some of the places hiring opticians:

  • Stores
  • Offices
  • Optometry practices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics

How can I stay updated on changes to the regulations regarding opticians in Colorado?

Many organizations change their rules and regulations.

Here are some institutions that can help you stay up-to-date with changes in the industry:

  • American Board of Opticianry & National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE)
  • American Optometric Association
  • Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
  • Commission on Opticianry Accreditation
  • National Optometric Association
  • Opticians Association of Colorado

USA Optician Schools by State

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